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Wednesday, Jan. 31

Redbirds draw Ball State in BracketBusters Send a link to a friend

[JAN. 31, 2007]  NORMAL -- In a pairing of former Midwestern Conference members, Illinois State will host Ball State at Redbird Arena on Feb. 17 as part of the 2007 O'Reilly ESPNU BracketBusters series, as officially announced on Tuesday. Game time has been scheduled for 4:05 p.m.

The Redbirds and the Cardinals, along with Northern Illinois, Southern Illinois and Indiana State, were charter members of the Midwestern Conference before it disbanded in 1972. The two schools have met 18 times on the hardwood, with Ball State holding a slight 10-8 edge in the series, including a 77-65 victory in the last meeting in Muncie, Ind., on Feb. 8, 1975.

Entering Tuesday night's action, Illinois State carries an 11-11 record on the season and is 3-8 in Missouri Valley Conference play. The Redbirds are also ranked No. 124 by Ball State is 7-13 on the year, including a 3-4 mark in the Mid-America Conference, and currently holds a 242 RPI rating.

Head coach Porter Moser and his staff are familiar with the majority of the Cardinal personnel, since Illinois State and Ball State orchestrated a preseason scrimmage prior to the start of both the 2004-05 and 2005-06 seasons. However, BSU is now led by first-year head coach Ronny Thompson, son of legendary coach John Thompson.

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"Coach Thompson obviously has a terrific coaching pedigree and has done a nice job in his first year at Ball State," said Moser. "Ball State has been a top team in the MAC for many years, and I think people in the Midwest are familiar with Ball State and its program."

The BracketBusters series has proven to be a successful venture for the Redbirds and the Missouri Valley Conference over the previous four years. ISU boasts a 3-1 record in BracketBusters series matchups, while also posting a perfect 4-0 mark in the return games. The entire Valley is 20-13 in BBS games and 25-8 in the return contests.

"There is definitely a level of pride among the Valley members, because of the growth this league has endured," Moser said. "We, as coaches, feel a sense of pride to maintain our league's success in this event. Hopefully, that will prove to be the case again this year."

(Text from file received from Todd Kober, assistant athletics director, media relations, Illinois State University)


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